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LCC Library

Physical Therapist Assistant Guide

A guide to the research process for Physical Therapy Assistant students.

Background information

Before searching for information from articles, use online reference sources to define unfamiliar words and gather background information and guidelines on conditions, populations and interventions that are relevant to PTA.

These resources are good places to start:

Nursing Reference Center

Gale Virtual Reference

Oxford Reference

Find background information using the Library's Clinical Guidelines and Reference.

Physiopedia is an excellent online encyclopedia with contributors from around the globe. Find definitions, overviews, and therapeutic assessments and interventions for a wide range of conditions. Fabulous illustrations and video content, too!

Articles from Library Research Databases

LCC Library subscribes to many research databases that focus specifically on information for Health Professions. Click here to see a list of Health Professions databases and read a description about their holdings, relevant dates, or special features.

Try out a new database from the State of Oregon collection: Physical Therapy and Sport Medicine

Or start with one of these large databases:

Academic Search Complete


Health Source: Nursing Academic Edition

Alt HealthWatch

Finding books

The Library has hundreds of books and ebooks relevant to students in the PTA program but they are not all shelved together. Find resources using the Library Catalog using keywords related to your research question.

Some important subject terms are:

physical therapy

physical therapy assistants

occupational therapy

massage therapy


musculoskeletal system


Articles from Google Scholar

Go to Google Scholar

Google Scholar can be a powerful source of scholarly information. It's easy to use, looking and feeling just like Google. But the results you will get will be very different.

Here's some of what you may find:

  1. Peer-reviewed journal articles
  2. Other previously published journal articles 
  3. Unpublished scholarly articles 
  4. Master's theses and other degree or classwork 
  5. Citations for books, some of which link to parts of the actual book online. 

The LCC Library participates in the Google Scholar Library Links program.  If you set your Google Scholar Settings to include links to articles found in LCC Library databases, you will be able to access full-text (that is, the entire article instead of just the citation and abstract), peer-reviewed articles from LCC Library databases as well as other sources.

Barthel & EADL Tutorial

This tutorial demonstrates an approach to finding information based on the question:

"Which patient populations are typically assessed using the Barthel and EADL?"

Evidence from other sources

Depending on your research research question, information from these websites may be helpful:

  • Mayo Clinic
  • Medline Plus (patient centered information)
  • APTA (Association for Physical Therapists Assistants) or other associations
  • CDC (Centers for Disease Control)
  • NIH (National Institutes of Health) for info/statistics
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